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February 13, 2018 - Coming Up Short in the Economy of the Kingdom

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Poor Jesus. You’d think that the disciples would know by this point in his ministry who he is and what sort of kingdom he is bringing forth. But they don’t. And so in this text from Mark they are fretting over the fact that they did not bring enough bread (or perhaps they brought none at all). And Jesus is frustrated—not because they forgot the bread but because they don’t understand that it doesn’t matter. It is not the forgetting of the bread that is the problem. It’s the fact that they still don’t get the economy of the Kingdom.

How often is that true of us? How often are we just like the disciples in this manner of coming up short?

I don’t know about you, but I come up short all the time. The other evening, I put together a Power Point slide presentation for my class. The next morning, as I am heading off to class, I realize that I left the flash drive where I had saved the presentation at home. Just like the disciples, I had forgotten the very thing that I needed the most. And, of course, I fretted. What was I going to do without my slides?

Jesus knows very well that, like the disciples, we are going to come up short. We are bound to, since we’re human beings. But Jesus’ point is that in the Kingdom that he has brought to us on Earth, we ought not fret. In the economy of the Kingdom, one loaf feeds all. No matter how short we come up, we cannot escape Jesus’ grace. There is always more than enough grace to go around.

And so when we come up short, we need to remember Jesus’ frustration with the disciples. We need to remember that he was not frustrated with them because they screwed up. He was frustrated because they so grossly underestimated him. They forgot what they had seen and heard. They forgot that in the economy of the Kingdom there is infinite grace.

If we take that seriously, of course it has powerful implications for us. Just one is that we ought to cut ourselves a break when we come up short. If Jesus has enough grace for us, surely we can have a bit of grace for ourselves.

And, of course, if we are called to have such grace for ourselves, surely we are called to have it for others. Let’s remember our own coming-up-short when we witness another doing the same.

May we embrace the economy of grace in the Kingdom even as we live in a world too often characterized by zero-sum thinking and a scarcity of grace. Amen.

- Sue Trollinger